This is a question that I’m sure a lot of people ask themselves. Being an ally is a vitally important part of acceptance and furthering the acceptance of transgender and non-binary members of our society. For too long trans and NB people have been shunned by not just wider society but the LGBTQIA+ community itself. Pride itself was first established by a queer POC by the name of Marsha P. Johnson. Marsha was a transgender person of colour who was a prominent member of the stonewall uprising and is considered to be the founder of the Pride movement. Marsha was, however ousted by the cis, white, gay men who was the mainstay of Pride for many years, even though she was the founder. This theme of trans people, especially trans POC, being ostracised by the rest of the LGBTQIA+ community, is pervasive throughout history and is still very much present today. Trans people of colour are being murdered all over the world, especially in the US and it has to stop.
To be a good ally there are a number of things you can do:
1. Ask people their pronouns and also offer yours. Then respect those pronouns and use them, while also correcting yourself if you get it wrong. It is ok to get pronouns wrong as long as you correct yourself!
2. Call out bigotry. If people are speaking about a trans or NB person and aren’t using the correct pronouns or are being bigoted, then call them out for it.
3. Don’t deadname people. People who are in any stage of their transition may want to change their name to reflect their gender identity. The same as you wouldn’t call them the wrong name in everyday life, it’s exactly the same. If they want to change their name then use it and correct and call out people who get it wrong.
4. Educate yourself. Many people who aren’t members of the LGBTQIA+ community aren’t versed or educated on what it means to be trans or non binary and the difficulties that they face. Educate yourself, ask (appropriate!) questions, research, and find out all that you can in order to better support those people.
5. Lastly just be kind. Transitioning is one of, if not the hardest thing a person can do due to having lived as the gender that they are not for so long, and the intolerance associated with being trans or non binary. People going through this just want people to be kind and accepting. As with any type of coming out, they are still the same person underneath, they are just now able to express themselves as they are rather than putting a façade on. Wouldn’t you want them to be happy rather than live a lie?
The main crux of this article is be an ally, do everything you can to support trans and non binary people and just be kind.
Thanks for reading!
Founder and CEO